Why Salt-free Water Softener Are Better for Our PlanetPlanet Earth
Salt-based and salt-free water softeners turn hard water soft, but these two types of water softeners have many differences. While salt-based water goes through regeneration cycles to soften hard water, salt-free water softeners like the Springwell Futuresoft do not.
Salt-free water softeners are more environmentally friendly since they do not produce any wastewater and chlorides, which the salt-based water softener produces, are not dumped into the waste stream. In fact, salt-free water softeners are great in a slightly different use case and work totally different from their salted counterparts.
We’ll check out what makes salt-free water softener special, how it works, and what it can actually do.
What a Salt-free Water Softener Does
You may have used a salt-based water softener system a couple of times. Or perhaps you use it periodically. Either way, you are most likely aware of the resin bed in the water softener’s tank. This resin bed is negatively charged, and its purpose is to remove magnesium and calcium from the water.
It can achieve this by attracting positively charged ions. It is after the completion of this process that your water loses its hardness and becomes soft. You then add salt to your water softener to clean it and enable its resin bed to regenerate. This is precisely what water softening is.
However, this is not how a salt-free water softener works. A salt-free water softener does not remove calcium and magnesium from hard water. Instead, it causes a chemical transformation that makes them incapable of clinging to surfaces. This effectively rids the water of the effects of hardness. And it requires no salt for regeneration since it doesn’t remove the minerals. What a salt-free water softener does cannot, therefore, be precisely described as water softening.
There are different kinds of salt-free water softeners, and they have different and unique methods for achieving the same result.
3 Water Softener Alternatives
1. Nucleation Assisted Crystallization-Based Salt-free Water Softeners
This salt-free water softener makes your water undergo a process of crystallization where the minerals decompose. Let’s take a look at this explainer video:
This decomposition transforms them into harmless crystals, thus eliminating the effects of hardness. Technically, this isn’t water softening because water-softening is defined as the removal of minerals. But it effectively prevents hard water scaling, so it achieves the same result as your salt-based water softener.
There are also certain additional benefits. Assisted crystallization-based salt-free water softeners can also get rid of years of scale accumulated in your household pipes. This removes many of the damages hard water has previously caused to the plumbing in your home.
2. Citric Acid Salt-free Water Softeners
Another kind of water softener alternative is the Capacitive Deionization (CDI). It works just as well eliminates hard water scaling by injecting citric acid into the water. However, it does this by lowering the water’s pH level. Therefore, to use this kind of water softener, you must watch out for potential corrosive properties.
3. Polyphosphate Salt-free Water Softeners
This salt-free water softener prevents your pipes and appliances from accumulating scale by sealing off their surfaces. This makes it difficult for calcium and magnesium in your water to stick to your plumbing and cause damages. It also helps to maintain your water heater efficiency.
What a Salt-free Water Softener Does Not Do
Evidently, salt-free water softeners can help you prevent hard water scaling. They do it as effectively as salt-based water softeners. The main difference is in the methods. However, this does not mean that a salt-free water softener can do everything a salt-based one can do.
While a salt-based water softener completely removes the minerals that cause hardness, a salt-free one doesn’t. This may not have any significant consequences when it comes to preventing hard water scaling. However, scaling is not the only disadvantage of hard water. When you wash your cloth in hard water, the coloration can be altered due to the presence of hard minerals.
Since a salt-free water softener does not remove these minerals, it can’t solve this particular problem or prevent it. The same thing applies when you wash your dishes, especially glass ones. The minerals in hard water leave spots on their surfaces. A salt-free water softener that doesn’t remove those minerals cannot solve this problem either.
Hard water can also create skin problems for some people when they bathe, especially if you’re used to soft water. It can even cause dryness in some places. And the soap you use for cleaning at home will not form lather properly due to the water hardness. A salt-free water softener has no answers to these issues.
Although the calcium and magnesium responsible for the hardness have been turned into crystals by the salt-free water softener, they have not been removed. And they will have the same effects they have on your clothes, fixtures, and faucets in your bathroom and kitchen when they weren’t in crystallized form. Crystallizing the minerals is an anti-scaling effect, not actual water softening. So, the only way to get rid of the problems they cause you is to really soften the water. This can only be achieved by total removal. And that’s something only a salt-based water softener does.
Therefore, a salt-free water softener works effectively to prevent scaling. It even helps to get rid of accumulated ones, but it cannot prevent or solve all your hard water problems.